Though we usually celebrate birthdays in our family by dining in a unanimously agreed-upon restaurant on Sundays, as my three (3) daughters are invariably committed to nightly dance training and rehearsals on weekdays: Shayna as assistant coach of the Legit Status Hiphop Dance Team (Legit Status is looking forward to another international competition in Indonesia this November 29,2015), Cheska as compete team member of the UP Street Dance Team (actually its alumni-group called THE CREW) {THE CREW has been invited to perform a hiphop dance exhibition in South Korea also this November 25,2015}  and Alee as Team Captain of the Sayawatha Dance Team (the hiphop dance team of Miriam College-High School) {Sayawatha is competing in the CRISSA Hiphop Dance Competition set on November 15, 2015}; I suggested  dinner at BAWAI’S VIETNAMESE RESTO located at No. 79 Katipunan, Bellitudo Lifetsyle Strip,  White Plains, Quezon City, Metro-Manila, Philippines yesterday (November 6, 2015) as it was Alee’s 17th birthday.

As Alee cannot cancel her dance training/rehearsal which ends at 7:30 PM, we scheduled the dinner at 8:00 PM and unanimously decided to hold it at BAWAI’S VIETNAMESE Resto considering that Alee will come from the Celebrity Plaza which is located near the same Katipunan Road. Shayna and Cheska on the other hand, canceled outright their nocturnal terpsichorean charges.

It was opportune that my Japanese friend, Mr. Yasuaki Mori, was to arrive from Japan at 5:30 PM via Philippine Airlines. So, I decided to fetch him and bought two (2) stored value tickets for an MRT ride from Taft Avenue to Bonny Serrano station, after picking Mr. Mori up from NAIA 2  to avoid the usual traffic jam on Fridays.

Despite our pre-purchased tickets, I and Mori were not able to get seats at the first coach reserved for senior citizens due to the sheer number of riders. The foregoing transpired even though we started out from the Taft Avenue Station, as we came out from NAIA 2 then to Airport Road into Roxas Boulevard culminating at the EDSA-Taft MRT station (as I and my driver Lito descried earlier the traffic jam on the opposite lane from the airport to the skyway entrance near the Solaire Resort complex).

At BAWAI’S which I was told is Vietnamese term for GRANDMA, we ordered PHO GA, which is some kind of Chicken Noodle Soup; BUN TOM, which is Shrimp Dry Noodles Bawai’s Salad; GOI CUON, the Fresh Spring Rolls; COM SUON CHA, the Double-Grilled Pork Belly; TOM RANG ME, which is the Black Tiger Prawns with Sweet Tamarind Paste; and CA KHO TO, which is the Braised King Fish with savory caramel sauce and coconut juice.

As Mr. Mori served as a Japanese diplomat for 39 years (having served too at a diplomatic post in Vietnam in 1990 for 2 years) and now working as a professor at Japan’s WASEDA University, Mori would have the apt palate to determine whether BAWAI’S claim of authentic Vietnamese food is worth the court.

Also, my Daddy Max who served as a military advisor in 2 quondam South Vietnam provinces, during the Vietnam War, Daddy Max would also be a good food-critic to check on BAWAI’S claim of authenticity.

Fortunately, both Mr. Mori and Daddy Max not only gave their THUMBS UP gesture as they confirmed that BAWAI’S cuisine is not only authentic but truly delectable.

What I liked best and which feeling is shared by almost all of us is the TOM RANG ME. The tang and the zesty taste of the tamarind paste combined with the luscious fairly-large prawns is really quaint and unrivaled. I have been dining in other Vietnamese restaurants in the metropolis, but it is only in BAWAI’S that serves these varied cuisine.

The CUM SOUN CHA (i.e. Double-Grilled Pork Belly) was also mouth-watering at first sight. All the more, after gobbling it up, it was ambrosial!

There were plenty of diners at BAWAI’S that night and the chatter and the cutlery added to the noise in such a cheerful activity. As alcohol stimulates appetite, the male adults among us sipped Yellow Tail Shiraz, to complete the razzmatazz!

BAWAI’S  started its operation in September 2013 and it is being managed superbly by the Liwanag family with Ms. Hyra E. Liwanag at the helm of the kitchen operation. The staff is cordial and service is equally good.

The restaurant’s ambience is so cozy, homey and relaxed. From the inside looking eastward to the Eastwood skyline, particularly at BAWAI’S  herbaceous border, the sylvan and verdant surroundings create an exhilarating feeling which is certainly needed to further pump up one’s appetite for a sumptuous meal. BAWAI’S indeed is a WISE choice to dine and wine!  

Photo was taken at BAWAI’S (from left to right): Jayjay, Cheska’s BF; Cheska, my wife Dang, my stepmother Mercy, Daddy Max, my Japanese friend Mori; myself, Alee, the birthday celebrant; Ton, Shayna and Aly, Ton’s GF

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